Movie Quest 2008
Move over Oscar! We have our own thoughts about which movies won our hearts in 2008. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 10 most travel-inspiring movies—and how you, too, can have cinematic moments on your next trip.
Rock on As the foursome sets off in search of the Narnians, Peter leads the group through a lush forest dotted with jagged rock formations, refusing to admit that he's lost. Fittingly, the scene was shot at Lost Rocks, in Poland's Góry Stolowe National Park (011-48/74-86-61-436, pngs.pulsar.net.pl, $2). "It looks like the Grand Canyon, but full of greenery," says executive producer Perry Moore of the park's sandstone passageways. "The truth is that some of the best magic in the Narnia movies is grounded in reality."
Watershed moment The movie's epic battle between the Narnians and the Telmarines culminates in a showdown along the banks of Slovenia's Soca River. "It was a complicated location to scout," says producer Phil Steuer. "We needed access to a river and permission to build a bridge." Wedged amid the Julian Alps, the Soca River valley is an adventure-sports haven for hikers, rafters, bikers, kayakers, and paragliders. If you want to hit the rapids, the Bovec Rafting Team arranges white-water trips (011-386/5-388-61-28, half-day tours from $50).
4. THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL
Sibling rivalry really heats up when sisters Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johansson) catch a glimpse of a young Henry VIII (Eric Bana)—and his spectacular palace. The movie is based on Philippa Gregory's best seller, which took its inspiration from English history.
Grassy knole Henry VIII's home, Whitehall Palace, burned down in 1698, so production designer John-Paul Kelly turned to Knole, the king's country manor in Sevenoaks. Kelly was struck by the house's massive scale: "It looks more like a small town than a building!" The estate has 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances, and 7 courtyards. From mid-March to early November, you can tour the rooms—complete with opulent Jacobean-era furnishings—as well as the Japanese sika deer park that surrounds the 1,000-acre property (011-44/1732-462-100, nationaltrust.org.uk, $18).
Get thee to the nunnery Queen Catherine of Aragon (Ana Torrent) gives the Boleyn girls a rough welcome to court, forcing a timid Mary to sing for the queen's ladies-in-waiting in Lacock Abbey. Today, visitors to Wiltshire can explore Lacock's main hall, octagonal tower, botanic gardens, and medieval cloisters—which also had a cameo in two Harry Potter films (011-44/1249-730-884, nationaltrust.org.uk, $18).
Redemption song London's St. Bartholomew the Great church serves as the backdrop for Anne's bleak wedding to Henry—and her fateful trial. Every Sunday at 6:30 p.m., the choir performs a moving evensong service. The tradition was established after Henry VIII broke from the Catholic church and formed the Anglican church in order to marry Anne (011-44/20-7606-5171, greatstbarts.com).
3. QUANTUM OF SOLACE
Italy, Austria, England
The highly anticipated sequel to Casino Royale marks the return of 007 (Daniel Craig). Bent on avenging the death of his lost love, James Bond outwits the British government and the CIA on a covert mission that takes him around the globe.
Horsing around In the fast-paced opening scene, Bond chases a spy through a warren of medieval aqueducts in Siena, Italy. In the summer, you can take a tour of the subterranean cisterns through La Diana Association (011-39/366-358-8181, $13). Bond eventually pops up through a manhole in Piazza del Campo—directly into the path of the Palio horse race. During the competition, which has been held in Siena since 1310, riders must complete three laps around the piazza, avoiding spectators along the way (July 2 and Aug. 16, free).
Opera on the water Bond tracks down villain Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) at the Bregenz Festival House, a 7,000-seat concert hall with a floating stage on the banks of Lake Constance in Austria. The 2009 festival season runs from July 22 to August 23 and features Verdi's tragic opera Aida (011-43/5574-4076, bregenzerfestspiele.com, from $40).
Sky's the limit Bond uncovers Greene's plot to overthrow the Bolivian government and take control of its water supply. While en route to Bolivia, 007's plane is shot down, and he has to share a parachute with his latest paramour, Camille (Olga Kurylenko). The scene was actually filmed in Bedford, England, at Bodyflight, a skydiving center with a wind tunnel that simulates free-falling at 120 mph (bodyflight.co.uk, from $70). "There aren't any cables holding you down in the wind tunnel," says director Marc Forster. "You're literally floating."